For the second straight game, the Chiefs’ offense wasn’t the well-oiled machine that won the Super Bowl.
But this week the Chiefs were good enough to win.
Kansas City defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 17-9, and credit after this one goes to the defense. The Chiefs held Jacksonville without a touchdown despite four trips to the red zone.
A big reason: Chris Jones’ return.
KC STAR OF THE GAME
As if we needed to be reminded, Chris Jones makes a difference. The Chiefs’ defense played well last week against Detroit without him, but on Sunday Jones made some really key plays, including a sack and a batted pass. His sack late in the second quarter set up the Chiefs’ first touchdown drive.
Next: The Chiefs return home next Sunday to face the Chicago Bears at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. The game on Fox (Ch. 4 in Kansas City) kicks off at 3:25 p.m.
Passing offense: C
A mixed bag here. Martez Valdes-Scantling was poised to get a first down and ran backward after the catch. Justin Watson lost a fumble. Mahomes’ deep ball intended for Watson that Jacksonville intercepted was a frustration heave. Kadarius Toney recovered his own fumble for an 11-yard loss.
But Patrick Mahomes and the passing offense delivered late in the first half. Great effort plays after the catch by Noah Gray and Clyde Edwards-Helaire set up Mahomes’ 9-yard scoring pass to Skyy Moore, his first regular-season touchdown.
Travis Kelce channeled his inner Marcus Peters and punted the ball deep in the stands after recording his first touchdown of the season. Unlike Peters, the former Chiefs cornerback who twice punted the ball into the stands after big plays, Kelce wasn’t penalized.
The clincher: a 54-yard completion to Moore on third and 6.
Right tackle Jawaan Taylor, facing his former team, had a nightmare game. He was flagged for five penalties, including two holding calls. All of that bought him a benching for two snaps in the third quarter.
Rushing offense: B
The Chiefs hardly tried to run the ball in the first half. Isiah Pacheco and Edwards-Helaire were blockers or pass receivers. At halftime, the Chiefs’ offense had run it four times (twice via Mahomes’ scrambles). But on the first snap of the third quarter, Pacheco roared for 31 yards, breaking an arm tackle along the way.
Passing defense: A
Jones’ proved his value on almost every snap, consistently getting pressure on Trevor Lawrence. His sack on fourth down set up the Chiefs’ touchdown drive late in the second quarter. Linebacker Leo Chenal made a big play in sniffing out a throwback pass and dropping wide receiver Travis Etienne for a loss.
Rushing defense: A
The antenna was up for Nick Bolton and L’Jarius Sneed when they pursued Lawrence, who kept it on first-and-goal from the 1. The duo buried him for a 3-yard loss and forced the Jaguars to settle for a field goal. Overall, this was an excellent game for the defense. Jacksonville went three for three (with touchdowns) in the red zone last week in beating the Colts. This time the Jags went without a touchdown in three trips to the red zone.
Special teams: C
Oof. The Chiefs gave the Jaguars a field goal after Richie James muffed a punt on the first snap of the second quarter. The ball bounced off his facemask and the Chiefs did well to hold the Jags to three. Interesting call by Andy Reid early, passing up a 54-yard field goal attempt to punt on fourth-and-9. Jaylen Watson hustled to down the ball at the 2. But why pass up three? Kicker Harrison Butker is 23 of 35 lifetime from 50-59 yards.